The short answer is that a conditional sentence in criminal law means a house arrest. A house arrest/conditional sentence applies when you have already been found guilty of a criminal offence and you are sentenced. Section 742.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada governs when a conditional sentence applies. There are a range of restrictions and limitations as to who may receive a conditional sentence and serve the sentence in the community. To name a few and the big ones, they are as follows: the court must impose a sentence of imprisonment for less than 2 years, that the conditional sentence wont endanger the safety of the community, that the offence is not one punishable by a minimum term of imprisonment, that the offence is not an indictable offence for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 14 years or life, and a range of indictable offences such as sexual assault. Fraud over $5000.00 for example, is no longer an offence for which a conditional sentence is available. When an offender is sentenced to serve the sentence in the community, the offender usually can go to work and do most normal things s/he would normally do, however, they are usually on a curfew and there are some other restrictions put on their liberty and freedom, such as abstaining from the consumption of alcohol, or other substances, owing a weapon, and many others to name a few. Community service up to 240 hours is also an order that can be made. If an offender breaches any of the terms of the conditional sentence, then s/he can serve the rest of the remaining time left in the sentence in real jail. If you are charged with a criminal offence in Ontario and are wondering whether you would be eligible to receive a conditional sentence then give me a call, at 905-789-9007 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a confidential consultation.